Chair of St. Peter the Apostle, February 22

st-peters-chairRoman Martyrology: Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle, to whom the Lord said: “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.” On the day on which the Romans used remember ttheir dead, we honor the place of birth to the sky quell’Apostolo, taking the glory from his victory on the Vatican Hill and asked to preside over the universal communion of charity.

February 22 in the calendar of the Catholic Church represents the day of the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. This is the anniversary of its entry into a particular memory at the center of the particular mission entrusted by Jesus to Peter. In fact, the history has handed us the existence of two professorships’s first of his trip and his martyrdom in Rome; the headquarters of the Magisterium of Peter was in fact identified in Antioch. The liturgy celebrated these two times with two different dates: January 18 (Rome) and February 22 (Antioch). The reform of the calendar has unified them in today’s celebration. The Roman Missal explains: the symbol of the chair will emphasize the mission of teacher and pastor of Christ conferred upon Peter, which he formed in his person and in the successors, visible principle and foundation of unity of the Church.

Two important stages of the mission performed by the Prince of the Apostles, Saint Peter, and the first established Christianity in Antioch, then to Rome, the Roman Martyrology February 22 celebrated the feast of the Chair of St. Peter in Antioch January 18 and that of his chair in Rome. The recent reform of the calendar has unified the two commemorations on February 22, in which is reflected an ancient tradition, reported by Depositio Mar rum. Indeed, on this day was celebrated the Roman chair, then early on January 18 to Gaul, to prevent the party from falling in the time of Lent.

The chair, literally, is the fixed seat of the supreme pontiff and the bishops,. permanently placed in the mother church of the diocese (hence its name of “cathedral” after “cathedra” the chair) and is the symbol of the bishop and his ordinary magisterium in the local church. The chair of St. Peter indicates his position in the apostolic college, established by the express will of Jesus, who assigned the task of “feeding” the flock, that is to lead the new People of God, the Church.

This investiture by Christ, reiterated after the resurrection, is observed. After the Ascension, Peter played the leading role. He presided over the election of Matthias and spoke to the crowd gathered to hear him in front of the upper room, on the day of Pentecost, the latest before the Sanhedrin. Herod Agrippa knew he inflicted a mortal blow to the Church with the removal of its leader, Saint Peter.

While the presence of Peter in Antioch appears indisputable in the New Testament writings, evidence of his coming to Rome in the early years of Claudius was unclear.

The development of Christianity in the capital of the certified letter from Paul to the Romans (written around 57) is not explained, however, without the presence of a missionary to the foreground. The coming, whatever the date on which this happened, and Saint Peter’s death in Rome, are supported by ancient traditions; they are now universally held by scholars including non Catholics. This is demonstrated in a historically unassailable manner, including excavations undertaken in 1939 by order of Pius XII in the Vatican Grottos, under the Basilica of St. Peter, and whose results are also welcomed from non-Catholic scholars.

Author: Piero Bargellini

Source: Santi e Beati

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